“A Perfect Example of Dislodging”

In National Lampoon’s Calcutta Vacation, the hapless Griswold family ships the cherished family truckster overseas in a classic fish-out-of-water sojourn story that’s ripe for comedic interpretation. In the midst of their travels, Clark and crew encounter a couple of young local experimental producers/musicians named Anupal Adhikary and Subho S. Sharma, and hilarity ensues. The Griswolds are, ahem, dislodged from their trans-America trekkishness and plopped into unfamiliar territory, and their ill-preparedness bubbles quickly to the surface as stacks of research materials lay untouched in the Illinois public library system.

JESSOP&CO. are well met on the Griswolds’ travels, the duo introducing the family to the polar opposite of Lindsay Buckingham’s “Holiday Road” with A Perfect Example of Dislodging. A fully Indian experience, A Perfect Example mixes found sound culled from the duo’s everyday existence and spins it into a confection of ever-shifting sonics that proves to be shaky ground when one is trying to find their footing for cultural immersion. Quick question – do they have peyote in India? Is it as good as the peyote we have here in America? (And I’m not one to compare, I’m just overwhelmed by sound is all.) Dislodging is (probably) like being on peyote and doing the whole Eastern spirit animal guided meditation thing instead of the Western one, where Johnny Cash voices a space coyote.

Ol’ Clark and fam sit uncomfortably on the couch at polite and awkward attention while Anupal and Subho play them their latest masterwork, and for almost an hour they risk sidelong glances at one another while the sounds permeate the room, the only other noises being the stray “Don’t touch that, Russ,” or “Button the top of your blouse, Audrey.” Where JESSOP&CO. succeed is in a realm where the Griswolds have never traveled, never even conjured the possibility of enjoyment. But as the camera pans a bit to the left, an easy chair comes into view, and I am sitting upon it with a grin plastered on my face, listening to Dislodging and reveling in every second of it. I peer from behind black sunglasses, and my unwavering smile is the Lynchian counterpoint to this half-baked comedy. I am not perceivable except on the fringes of Anupal’s and Subho’s consciousness, and that’s more due to the peyote than anything else. We hover there in existence, and we absorb what JESSOP&CO. have recorded. The Griswolds become like plaster, crack, and crumble. For reasons.

We return to life, and I disappear as the family continues on, probably getting involved in some sort of food or lodging mishap along the way. That’s an easy target. Good thing Cousin Eddie didn’t make the trip, presumably because Dennis (edit: Randy) Quaid was in the mail (edit: jail? You got me on this one). The Jessops are left in the company of Jessops to ponder their momentary encounter within the National Lampoon orbit, and we muster the rest of our sanity to continue on with the day.


-- Ryan Masteller